Reviving my adolescent terrors: the Fear Street books are coming back

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R.L. Stine’s Fear Street: Secret Admirer.
I just read that author R.L. Stine plans to revive his Fear Street series next year and holy shit, you guys: I don’t think I’ve recovered from my first go around with the books back in the day.

Like many children before and after me, I began my foray into the world of Stine with the seemingly-innocent Goosebumps series. I use the word innocent lightly here — Goosebumps is only innocent when compared with Fear Street, the series you basically graduate to once you’ve had your fill of middle school kids turning into dogs.

There are tons of Fear Street options out there — here are a few more that still mess with me:

The Wrong Number.

Ugh, The Wrong Number! This one used to torment me. Two characters are spending the night making prank phone calls when the brother of one catches them and joins in. It turns out he overhears a murder, and since they’re idiot teenagers they decide to go find the crime scene. This being R.L. Stine, you can assume that they won’t be met there by police who are ready to take over and save them.


Sunburn is about Claudia and two friends who are invited out of the blue to spend the summer with an old friend, Marla. Of course at first everything is good times but inevitably the three girls start to notice that Marla has changed. Somehow a ghost named Daniel is thrown into the mix, and Claudia starts that a string of strange accidents have been happening. Did Daniel cause them? Why is Marla so weird? WHAT IS GOING ON IN THIS BEACH HOUSE.

The Best Friend.

Initially The Best Friend sounds like a pretty common teenage set-up: Honey says she’s Becky’s best friend! She does everything Becky does! She follows Becky around all the time and just thinks Becky is the coolest. Except then the creep factor comes in: Becky has no clue who Honey is. A lot of Fear Street enthusiasts were seriously pissed off by the ending of this one so I won’t give it away, but The Best Friend is one of the last books written before the Fear Street series exploded, and a lot of people say it’s one of the best in a pool of somewhat poorly-written and often-times predictable books.

In closing, I ask: which Fear Street books did you hate to love?

Comments on Reviving my adolescent terrors: the Fear Street books are coming back

  1. I loved the Reva*-based ones (I think she was in two?)…it was so long ago that I don’t remember much but she was a bitchy shop girl at a mall and someone put a needle in her lipstick. It was Christmastime. I used to read these after school, sitting on my bean bag in the corner nook I made for myself in my tiny bedroom.

    I also loved that I was SO CLEVER I noticed the teens were called by their first names and the adults/baddies by their last.

    *Reva or Reba or something…sorry.

    • I remember the Reva ones too! The lipstick needle! So creepy. I also loved the Fear Street Saga ones, because they scratched my historical-fiction itch as well. Nothing like a good old witch-burning to fire up the pre-adolescent imagination.

      Then I graduated to Christopher Pike. I did a looooong 6th-grade book report on Chain Letter, if anyone’s read that one. Immortal was great because I loved Greek mythology. Witch was a favorite because I wanted magical powers like the protagonist. Okay, maybe not much has changed there.

      • Chris Pike’s “The Last Vampire Series” is fucking gold. It needs to be made into a movie so all the Twi-Hards out there can see how a real vampire kicks ass. 😛 I also second the Fear Street Saga ones as wonderfully spooky.

  2. I read the colonial vampire ones. I don’t remember what they were called. They were more supernatural. And they scared the piss out of me as a kid.
    I also liked Christopher Pike. I wonder if they would hold up…
    I remember two Pike books in particular. One was a girl who found out she was an android. The other was about a couple who were killed in a car crash and they didn’t know they were dead.

  3. Someone gave me “What Holly Heard” as a gift or something (for obvious reasons…) But I don’t think they realized that Holly was the murder victim in this one…I remember reading the description of her dead body…its still with me like 18 years later. ::Shudder:: But I also remember the WHAT?! surprise moment when you find out who the killer is

  4. Omigosh, Sunburn! Loved that one!

    What I really loved was when the books referenced each other. There was one where some kids on a camping trip accidentally kill a guy and it turns all I Know What You Did Last Summer. And in a later one, kids are sitting around playing Truth or Dare or something. One of them is asked to share a secret and she says she can’t because she swore never to tell. It was clear she was talking about the camping trip murder and I felt SO DAMN CLEVER for making the connection.

    Ooh, there was the one with the guy who was trying to juggle the twin sisters and they seriously fucked with him by pretending there was really only one of them and then later, three of them. One of the twins had a butterfly tattoo and I remember the book came with a temporary butterfly tattoo.

    The Stepsister stuck with me, especially the part where the main character’s shampoo gets replaced with peroxide. What I loved and hated about the books was every chapter ended on a cliffhanger. The peroxide chapter ended something like, “I looked into the mirror… and screamed!” Next chapter, turns out she’s just a blonde now.

    Why did I throw out all my Fear Street books? If they would put them on Kindle, I would buy them all.

    Oh oh! And there was a bit in a Christopher Pike book I’ll never forget, where a girl tied a dude up, put duct tape on his mouth and held cocaine under his nose until he breathed it in. He OD’d and died.

    Jeez, I could do this all day.

  5. I was a serious scaredy-cat when I was a kid but I used to sneak these books anyway!! My mom didn’t let me read them because I would have nightmares. I especially remember one where someone decapitated someone by coming up behind them and slicing their head off with a guitar string…. that stuck with me and led to a lot of sleepness nights and irrational musical phobias, haha!

    I only just got over my scaredycat-ness (?) like 3 years ago. I’m 28!!! And I still had to turn “Insidious” off last night because it was too scary! I had to watch like an hour of Animal Planet just to be able to sleep 😛

  6. I loved the Fear family saga ones. Also, there was one book in which a girl was scalded to death in a shower by a demon (or something) that had me nervously taking cold showers for weeks.

    • YES!!!! I loved the Fear family saga ones but the one where the girl gets scalded to death in the shower…that was from The First Evil…that series TERRIFIED ME!!!! But I kept rereading them, I couldn’t help it lol An evil spirit possessing your friends and/or the dead?? Whaaaat!!!!

  7. All my friends started getting into Goosebumps in the fifth grade. I read one and determined they were childish, dumb, and way below my reading level. Instead I read my mom’s Stephen King books in secret, which I also didn’t think were particularly well written, but his plots were better.
    Probably my issue was just that horror is not my subject, I know now.
    My 6 year old is super into Goosebumps. He’s watched the entire series on Netflix and now my mom is reading the books to him. As an adult looking at a kid, I think it’s pretty cool. 🙂

  8. Oh man, I started with RL Stine, then to Christopher Pike, and then graduated to Stephen King and Dean Koontz. I just finished writing my own first horror novel (zombie apocalypse). I freaking LOVE horror. I just recently reread the Christopher Pike novel “The Season of Passage”, it’s one of my favourites and it absolutely holds up as a 30 year old now!!!

  9. I absolutely love the Fear Street books growing up! My favorites were the original Fear Street Saga books with the history of the Fear family. I also loved the Babysitter series of books from him.

    When the Goosebumps series came out though I was actually kind of mad a R.L. Stine. I tried to read from that series and saw so much repetition in there that it was soooooo annoying. I realize that kids have a shorter attention span but they honestly felt like an insult to a kids intelligence.

    I was also into Christopher Pike, Diana Hoh and V.C. Andrews. I didn’t get into Stephen King until Wizard and Glass from the Dark Tower series first came out. I also absolutely loved the Mayfair Witches and Vampire Chronicles from Anne Rice.

  10. Anyone remember Fog by Caroline B. Cooney? It had two sequels Snow and The Fire. For some reason I have been wanting to reread those again and seeing this reminded me to find them. I really liked the Fear Street Saga and have a vivid memory of the cover of one the Fear Street Books: cheerleaders with a skull pom pom? Don’t remember what the story was about though. Just bought Christopher Pike’s The Last Vampire and Remember Me series again. Not sure why I ever get rid of a book. I always end up wanting to read it again later.

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